In Memory of Memorials
By James Monahan
Memorials are landmarks, occasions, celebration, or even
institutions and organization put up to pay tribute to
important events or personalities. These memorials can
be found in every culture and in every generation.
Man has always been a sentimental lot. Every culture
places great importance on the memorable events and
personalities that grace their history. However, man is
also a forgetful lot. This leads him to erect monuments
and feast days to make sure that these important
memories do not fade into obscurity.
In the early days, memorials would take the simple form
of a pile of rocks that symbolized some important event.
Often, these landmarks would also mark the grave of a
As man settled down in cities, the monuments he built as
memorials grew in size and complexity. The ancient
Egyptians, for example, built the Pyramids as a memorial
to its departed kings, who were regarded as gods.
Around 90 of these pyramids were built to house the
remains of the various pharaohs and statesmen that lived
in Egypt. Pyramids usually towered 50 stories height and
were made from around 2.5 million block, each weighing
about 2.5 metric tons. If ever there was a memorial that
was truly enormous in magnitude and significance, this
The Hebrews were also known for elaborate feast days to
commemorate many different occasions such as victory in
war, and important historical events.
The Mayan culture depicted its kings in battle on stone
monuments called stelae. As with most cultures, the
glories and miseries of battle are a favorite theme for
The Romans were more deliberate (and political ) in
their establishment of monuments. The Empire's senate
would usually commission artisans, craftsmen, and masons
to periodically build monuments sometimes out of sheer
whimsy and out of the rich coffers of the State.
The Taj Mahal in India is one of the most beautiful
examples of a memorial in existence. The Taj Mahal was
built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his
wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Construction of the edifice started a year after Mumtaz'
death, which was in 1631. It took, in all, 21 year for
the Taj Mahal and its surrounding gardens to be
Today numerous memorials, like the Lincoln Memorial
which houses a huge sitting statue of Abraham Lincoln,
dot the American Landscape. And only fitting so, since
America is a land rich with historical significance.
In many countries there exist monuments to the fallen
brave during war. This is quite a departure from the
ancient monuments that showed victorious kings trumping
Today's society is more sympathetic to the sacrifices of
the gallant soldiers who offered their lives in battle
for their motherland.
But not all memorials take tangible form. In most
cultures, there exist yearly memorial dates and feasts.
Dates such as Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, Labor Day,
Independence Day populate the country's calendar year
There are also memorial dates that come once in a decade
or a century. An example of such is the 50th anniversary
of the bombing of Pear Harbor.
Memorials are a part of history and self-determination.
As said once, those who do not pay attention to history
are doomed to repeat it. These memorials are a testament
to the human experience and are a sentimental proof to
its value of history and culture.